A Pennsylvania court has sentenced fallen TV star and comedian Bill Cosby to a maximum of 10 years in jail, for sexually assaulting a female friend at his home more than a decade ago.
The once-beloved comedian turned convicted felon will serve between three to 10 years in jail after being found guilty in April of drugging and molesting former Temple University administrator Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004.
Cosby, 81, who was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, was formally declared a “sexually violent predator” under Pennsylvania law, Judge Steven O’Neill told the courtroom before announcing his sentencing.
That means Cosby’s name will be registered on a sex-offender list indefinitely and that will be handed to neighbours, schools and victims.
Cosby was further fined $US25,000 ($34,522) and will also be required to attend monthly counselling sessions for the rest of his life.
“It is time for justice. Mr Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The time has come,” a quote from Ms Constand’s victims’ statement that Judge O’Neill repeated to the Associated Press after the sentencing.
Cosby has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 50 woman dating back to the 1960s but with many complaints too old to prosecute, the Constand case was the only allegation that led to criminal charges.
Bill Cosby walking out of the courtroom in handcuffs: pic.twitter.com/qkf6dSVwnJ
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 25, 2018
On the first day of the sentencing hearing on Monday, Ms Constand said in a written statement submitted to the court that the attack had turned her into a woman who was “stuck in a holding pattern for most of her adult life, unable to heal fully or to move forward”.
“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it. He robbed me of my health and vitality, my open nature and my trust in myself and others,” she wrote.
“His decades-long reign of terror as a serial rapist is over.
“I have often asked myself why the burden of being the sole witness in two criminal trials had to fall to me … But I had to testify. It was the right thing to do, and I wanted to do the right thing, even if it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”
Cosby declined an opportunity to address the courtroom before the judge retreated to prepare his sentencing.
During this time, as he awaited his punishment, Cosby was reportedly seen smiling and laughing with his defence team.
The judge declined a request made by Cosby’s lawyers to grant him house arrest as he appealed his conviction saying that despite his frailty and blindness, Cosby could “quite possibly be a danger to the community”.
If ever he came up for parole, prosecutors wanted him to submit to a “psycho-sexual evaluation” that he had refused prior to sentencing.
Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt attacked the media, judge and the prosecutors after the sentence, calling the prosecution “the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States:.
He also said Cosby was doing well because “he knows that these are lies”.
Cosby’s first trial in 2017 ended in a mistrial when jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Soon after that proceeding, a series of women began levelling sexual misconduct allegations against influential men, launching the MeToo and TimesUp movements that have encouraged victims to speak up about their experiences.